Well … it is the neighboring town. On Nov. 23rd, CAP certification exam will be held at the INFORMS headquarter in Baltimore, MD. It is still pretty convenient for the WINFORMS crowd.
In case you are still wondering what CAP is, and why it is mentioned here on the WINFORMS blog site, allow me to explain. CAP® stands for Certified Analytics Professional (not to be confused with CPA). Nowadays, you can rarely let a day go by without being bombarded by words like Big Data, Data Mining, and Analytics, seemingly from all sorts of venues possible. It is like Wild West all over again, professionally speaking. INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences) brought forward this, first-of-a-kind, certification that would benefit the evolution of the emerging profession, Business Analytics.
I had the pleasure to have participated in the very first CAP® exam back in April, 2013 and received my certification. Reflecting on the test itself, I have to say the questions are of high quality. They are not particularly hard in the sense of numbers and equations (although I secretly hoped more of those), but they do cover surprisingly well on the breadth of the analytics methods with a keen focus on the thought process and applied solution building life-cycle. This certification is not something put together hastily. It was almost two years’ hard work by a well respected who’s who expert panel in the applied OR/MS field. CAPs off to them!
On the INFORMS CAP® Certification website, you will see a list of well-thought-of benefits of certification. In case they are still not moved, let me throw in one more for why you should consider it NOW. The professional field is still being formed, and people with CAP® certification are still few in number. As of this writing, there are only 54 people in the Certification Registry. INFORMS is working really hard to promote the certification among businesses. Being among the first few is an advantage that you can leverage now, before this becomes a normal expectation.
I will not belabor you with the application process details, which you can find it on the Candidate Handbook. I have to say the preparation for the certification is getting “easier”. When I was preparing for the exam, all I had was the sample questions and a list of eleven or so textbooks. Right now, study guide is being finalized, and if you choose to take this upcoming exam, you have the option to get additional discount and benefits in exchange for the feedback on the study guide. There are also INFORMS Continuing Education courses offered that would benefit the exam preparation.
To end this inaugural blog of WINFORMS, I’d like to quote my colleague, Irv Lustig. “The designation of Certified Analytics Professional indicates that I have the skills and experience needed to apply advanced analytics in multiple domains. With more organizations recognizing the value of analytics, my value to those organizations becomes easier to explain.”